Personal injury lawsuits cover a wide range of instances where someone is injured because of the actions of someone else. This could include things like motor vehicle accidents and pedestrian injuries, premise liabilities, medical malpractice, or even malicious acts. In many cases, you will be dealing with the responsible party's insurance company, but in other cases, you may be dealing directly with the party who caused your injuries.
When you are working with a personal injury lawyer in Long Beach with Timothy J. Ryan & Associates, you can rest easy knowing that you have a dedicated professional fighting to get you the compensation that you deserve for your injuries. We will represent you through any negotiation periods preceding a full lawsuit, and will then build a case for you if we are required to go to trial. During the trial, you can be certain that we are making your case clearly and strongly to the California courts to get you the money you are due.
Contact us now to schedule a free initial consultation and case evaluation, where we will go through the general information of your injuries and the situation that caused them, and give you a general idea of your rights and options as a victim of these injuries. Whether you are certain that you have a case, or you are unsure of the legitimacy of your circumstances in terms of a personal injury lawsuit, you will be able to gain more insight into the process that you can expect while working with us, and get a better idea of how the civil courts of California operate.
Read more below about personal injury law, what to expect before and during a lawsuit, and more, or contact us now to begin your own process today.
Do I Need a Personal Injury Lawyer?
There are many different situations where a personal injury lawyer can help you, and not just for a lawsuit. For instance: if you have been involved in an accident and are dealing with an insurance company, it may not seem necessary but hiring a legal professional is the best decision that you could make to make sure that you are getting the compensation that you are truly owed. You can learn more about insurance companies and settlements in the next section.
In order to determine if you may be eligible to seek personal injury compensation, there are many different things that must be considered, but below is a simple list of factors that, if you can answer yes, indicate that you should move forward. Remember that we offer a free initial consultation, meaning that if you are unsure, you can find the answers to these questions with the help of a professional:
- The responsible party had a duty to act with caution in order to avoid injuring others.
- The party failed to uphold that duty or acted in a way that violated their responsibilities.
- You were injured as a result of this failure to uphold their duty to act in a certain way.
- You suffered actual damages as a result of your injuries.
Again, please do not feel that you must be 100% certain of how you can answer these questions, work with our team today to ascertain whether or not you should proceed.
Should I Accept the Offer From the Insurance Company?
If you are dealing with an insurance company, you will work with an agent who takes in all of the details of your situation, and will then return to you with an offer. This offer may seem appealing to take, but it will come with enormous trade-offs that are not very helpful to your circumstances. When you accept an offer from the insurance company, you will need to forfeit your ability to pursue any future legal action against the company or their client.
In addition to forfeiting your rights, you will be getting an extremely low settlement amount. Insurance companies do not exist to pay fair and complete amounts to victims — they exist to spend as little money as possible to protect their clients and their bottom line. This initial offer can be seen as a beginning to negotiations, which your personal injury attorney will be able to manage for you. If negotiations do not produce the result that you and your lawyer believe is fair, you will then prepare to take the case to trial in order to get the money you truly deserve.
Examples of Common Personal Injuries
As you can imagine from the criteria above, there are many different ways that someone can be injured and be able to seek compensation for their injuries from the other party. However, some of the more common instances of personal injury lawsuits in California are as follows:
- Car accidents
- Drunk driving
- Motorcycle crashes
- Pedestrians hit by motor vehicles
- Slip and fall, or other premise liabilities
- Medical malpractice
- Workplace injuries
- Wrongful death
If you do not see an example above that resembles your own situation, this does not mean that you do not have a case. You can trust that your attorney will explore every detail of your situation to get a full understanding. No two accidents or injuries are alike, and our team will work to build a case that presents your injuries clearly and completely to the judge and jury.
It is important that you act as quickly as possible to begin this process, as California has a strict statute of limitations that will bar you from seeking damages after a specified amount of time has passed depending on the nature of your injuries.
Calculating Personal Injury Settlement or Damage Amounts
There is no simple formula to calculating settlement and damage amounts in a personal injury lawsuit, but there are a lot of common indicators that we use to arrive at, or inform, our total amount that we decide to seek. Since there is no simple way to answer this question, we will not be able to give you anything resembling an accurate estimate without exploring your case in detail, but you can read more below about some common factors that are included in personal injury cases, and how the amounts are calculated.
Economic damages are compensatory damages meant to repay the victim for actual expenses or financial losses that they have incurred as a result of their injuries. Think of economic damages as anything that comes with an actual cost, such as an invoice or income statements, and are intended to reimburse these payments. Some things that we will include for your economic damages are things like medical bills, ambulance trips, recovery costs, surgical procedures, and anything else associated with the actual care for your injuries. In addition, any lost income and paid time off or vacation leave that you have used to cover your missed work will be included in this amount.
If we believe that your injuries will continue to impact your work, or that you will continue to have medical bills and expenses for your injuries, we will work to calculate a reasonable amount for these future losses as well. In some instances, we will include long-term disability payments if you are unable to return to work, or to make up the difference if you are unable to earn the same that you had before your injuries.
Noneconomic damages cover all other compensatory damages that do not come with an actual dollar value appended to them. For example, there is no established cost or value of pain in the United States. What noneconomic damages do is seek compensation for these very real aspects of an injury. Some examples of noneconomic damages are pain and suffering, depression or fear, trauma, loss of enjoyment, a diminished quality of life, and other impacts to your life.
Since there is no way to present a series of invoices or financial documents to prove the amount you are owed, noneconomic damages are calculated in many cases by determining a “multiplier” – a number used to indicate the severity of these damages. With a multiplier, it is simple to present your injuries to a judge and jury in a way that is easy to understand, and easy to calculate a final amount. If, for example, we were to arrive at a multiplier of 3x, we will then use your economic damages to complete our calculations. If you had $100,000 of economic damages, then we will seek the $100,000, and then $300,000 for your noneconomic damages.
Punitive damages are awarded in rare and egregious personal injury cases where a jury finds that the responsible party acted in a manner that was extremely reckless, malicious, or irresponsible, and applies an additional amount of damages intended to punish them for their actions. These damages are not included in the amount that we seek, and therefore will play no role in the amount that we can expect at the end of your case.
Contact Us Today
Whether you are certain that you have a case for personal injury damages, or if you are unsure of your options and rights as a victim in your situation, contact us today to begin the process of fighting for the money that you rightfully deserve. During your initial consultation, you will be able to learn more about our process at Timothy J. Ryan & Associates, how we will handle your case, and learn more about our history of experience and successes for similar cases.
While we are representing you, it is one of our top priorities to ensure that you are able to avoid as much stress as possible, and that you are able to focus on recovering and getting your life back on track. We look forward to speaking with you, and to helping you get your life back to normal after this difficult time.